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A blue whale is seen here near the Port of Long Beach/Los Angeles with a contained ship coming directly toward it in this 2014 photo. (Photo courtesy of John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research)

A blue whale is seen here near the Port of Long Beach/Los Angeles with a contained ship coming directly toward it in this 2014 photo. (Photo courtesy of John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research)

44-foot Whale Carcass On Bow Of Cruise Ship Baffles NY Authorities

Reuters
Total Views: 0
May 11, 2024
Reuters

By Steve Gorman

May 8 (Reuters) – Marine conservationists and government scientists are seeking clues to the mystery of how a 44-foot whale carcass ended up on the bow of a cruise liner, where it was discovered as the ship approached New York City’s Port of Brooklyn over the weekend.

Video shows dead whale on the bow of a cruise ship docking at New York City.

A necropsy, the animal equivalent of an autopsy, identified the deceased marine mammal as a mature female sei whale, an endangered species typically found in deep waters far from land, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society said on Wednesday.

One key question is whether the whale’s death came before or after its contact with the vessel, according to the non-profit organization, based in Hampton Bays, New York.

An online statement posted by the society, whose team conducted the necropsy on Tuesday, said the exam revealed evidence of tissue trauma along whale’s right shoulder blade region, and a right flipper fracture. The creature’s gastrointestinal tract was full of food, it said.

Most of the whale’s organs were sampled, along with tissue and bone, for toxicology and pathology analysis, according to the society.

“The tissue and bone samples collected will help biologists determine if the vessel interaction occurred pre or post mortem,” the group said in its statement.

It said the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s law enforcement office was also investigating the incident.

The whale’s corpse was carried into port on Saturday.

The conservation society said the whale was then towed to shore at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to conduct the necropsy.

Sei whales, members of the baleen branch of cetaceans that filter-feed on plankton and krill, take their name from the Norwegian word for pollock, a fish they often run with at sea. They are known as exceptionally fast swimmers, capable of reaching speeds of more than 34 miles per hour (55kph), according to NOAA.

A Sei whale is pictured after scientists identified the endangered species on Argentina’s Patagonia coast for a first time since 1929, in the San Jorge Gulf, Chubut province, Argentina April 14, 2024, in this screengrab taken from video. Cristian Dimitrius/Jumara Films/Handout via REUTERS.

They dwell mostly in subtropical, temperate and subpolar seas around the world, primarily the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. In summer, they are commonly found in the Gulf of Maine and on Georges Bank and Stellwagen Bank in the western North Atlantic.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2024.

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